Getting noticed


I’ll be honest, things were a little slow for M4Photo during 2016.  I’ve continued to work with Eclipse Gymnastics and Archers of Raunds and I had a great three days shooting with the Barbara Hooton School of Dancing.  Otherwise, it was pretty slow.


It’s not all been doom and glom though.  The brand new Archers of Raunds website features a lot of my images as key eye candy on each of the websites pages and the images really make the site pop.  I also managed to capture a good number of great photographs at the recent Eclipse Gymnastics Xmas show and the feedback this year has been wonderful.  The dance school shoot had me utilising some long forgotten knowledge to get some good posed shots and the whole shoot was a great success.

However, a website that I was working on for a brand new start up business has fallen flat for the moment owing to things beyond my control and I really did not find the time to get out and explore my landscape photography, let alone attempt to put together a couple of landscape related projects that I’ve been thinking about.

So, with three acknowledgements in as many weeks from photographic websites and people that know what they are talking about, I guess that someone is trying to tell me something for 2017.

Gurushots is a website where photographers can upload their images and submit them to challenges.  Other photographers are then able to vote for their favourites and I always seems to do pretty well.  I was therefore pleased to find one of my images of Bodie selected from thousands of black and white images for an article entitled 30 Stunning Black And White Photos Proving That Colour Is Not Always That ImportantTo be selected for one of the top 30 images was really nice.

Then today, Gurushots picked up another of my images for one of just 34 lakeside images for an article entitled SPALOOSH! 34 Photographers that were Willing to Get Wet for Our Viewing Pleasure.  Featuring my image called Mono Lake Rainfall (shown above and which is one of my favourites in my portfolio) it quickly became my most successful image of 2016 with two Guru Picks during the year.  Whilst the votes are nice and it’s great to break into the top ten, it is the recognition from the guy that set the challenge that I really value.

Viewbug is another portfolio based photograph website where photographers can post their images and enter them into paid and free competitions.  My image looking across the Bay View Bridge towards San Francisco was recently place pretty high in the rankings.

It is interesting to acknowledge that all three of these images were captured on one of my workshops with Paul Reiffer.  I was lucky to spend two full weeks with him in California and he took us to some amazing locations and taught us how to get the best from each location.  The accolades mentioned above and linked on my Facebook page, really do show the value in Paul’s knowledge of photography and his unique ability to educate his students in a relaxed and informative way, whilst also letting them explore their own style of photography.

Maybe during 2017, I’ll get out a little more, work on some of these projects that are bubbling away in my mind and maybe, just maybe, I’ll have another crack at the local clubs to help to make some new memories for people.

Watch this space!!



Dance studio photo shoot

barbara-hooton-060716-earlsbartonThis afternoon I headed over to Earls Barton and the Barbara Hooton School of Dancing for the third of my three photo shoots with the dancers.  Whereas the earlier shoots were in shared halls, this one was in the schools main dance studio and very nice it is too.  Floor is pristine with mirrors on two walls and loads of light from two sides.  Nevertheless, the brief was costume shots and we defaulted to the studio and strobes for a third time.

During this shoot I had my first lesson.  When setting up, think about the sun and windows.  Yep, just after setting up the backdrop and the lights the sunlight crept around the corner and began to paint shadows and hot spots on the backdrop.  Time for a hasty rethink whilst the girls began to arrive.

Thankfully, the rest of the shoot went really well with the usual format of the younger dancers through to the teenagers and their point work.  The difference was losing the backdrop and working with the mirrors and light bouncing all over the place.  With only a couple of minutes to rework the setup, to lose one of the lights and get good light from the one remaining light, balanced with the ambient light and being able to get far enough back to shoot in the studio – it was a fun balancing act and a test of my thinking on my feet.

Anyway, I think that we cracked the shoot and the gallery is now uploaded to and ready for the dancers to view online and, hopefully, purchase a few of the images.

Shooting on Point Today

barbara-hooton-050716-irthlingboroughThere are times when I really appreciate working for a great company and a great boss and today was one such day.  Booking an afternoon off work today and tomorrow, I was heading back to photograph more of the guys and girls at the Barbara Hooton School of Dancing.

Today would be a short two hour session and assisted by Ellie we were set up as the dancers began to arrive.  Following a quick lighting check and adjustment of the key light, we settled down to photograph the youngest members in their wonderful show costumes.  It is hard to get young kids to smile when they really don’t want to be in front of the camera and this is something that I will definitely have to work on with posed shots.  That said, we got some great shots and some that even I was pleased with.

Moving into the second hour and the teenagers were back with their modern, tap and ballet point shoes and this time they really knew what they wanted, so it was just a case of step-up and deliver from my side of the camera.  These girls are real performers and they really got into this shoot – another reason why visiting clubs and organisations multiple times really works.  When people know you, know how you work and can relate to you and relax, everything becomes so easy and falls into place.  I was amazed to find that some of the more difficult shots were nailed in one, despite me asking the dancers to try new things and to push themselves that little bit more.

I loved yesterday’s chosen image of the dancer jumping with the ribbon.  Today, it had to be one of the girls up on point and showing some beautifully graceful lines.  However, check out the shot below which was a first take shot right at the end of the shoot with a young lady that appears to just love playing to the camera.